ANN ARBOR, Mich. — There was no beating around the bush for Dan Fox.
“We hold ourselves to a higher standard than what we did today,” Fox said after Notre Dame’s 41-30 loss at Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 7. “We have to raise our level in every aspect.”
For Fox, his words were as straight-forward as his team-high 10 tackles, the second week in a row the senior inside linebacker has led Notre Dame in total stops.
While there was ample room for Devin Gardner and the Wolverine offense to fashion points, Irish leaders left no room for fashioning excuses.
“We didn’t make plays we needed to. We came up short,’’ said sophomore defensive end Sheldon Day. “We were in the position to make plays and we didn’t it.”
Facing a bus ride back to South Bend right after the game, the Irish will use its time wisely to regroup, re-tool and collect themselves for another Big Ten road trip to Purdue next Saturday.
“Like Coach (Brian Kelly) says, the 24-hour rule. It’s a loss, it’s gonna hurt,’’ said T.J. Jones, one of three Notre Dame co-captains. “There’s going to be bad things on film when we watch it on Monday, there’s going to be a lot of good things.
“But you’ve got to learn to takes the results of the game, whether it’s a win or a loss, take what you can from it, learn from it and get better on Monday.”
Improving, not just winning football games, begins with better attention to detail, Jones said.
“For us, it’s whether it’s making sure you run the right route on the play, lining up right, blocking the right person,” said Jones, who caught nine passes for 94 yards and a touchdown against the Wolverines. “It’s staying focused and being keyed in on the game.”
“It was a lot of mistakes from everyone,” Fox said. “Either it was a bad tackle, or a missed assignment. We all made mistakes.”
Kelly said the Irish will get back to basics this week with an emphasis on a more disciplined approach in all areas.”
“We’ve got to tighten up everything,” Kelly said. “Seven days a week, 24 hours a day. They understand what I mean.”
A trio of Notre Dame backs combined for 96 yards on 19 attempts with Amir Carlisle looking the most reliable at hitting the openings with his 64 yards. George Atkinson III wasn’t nearly as effective, though he did break off a 16-yard dash, but he also dropped balls out of the backfield.
“No, we’ll evaluate that on Tuesday. I thought that (Carlisle) did some good things, but we’re still a work-in-progress,” Kelly said. “We made way too many mistakes in the passing game tonight that were critical at times. But we ran hard.”